Even YouTube Indie Video Producers Feel The Ad Revenue Squeeze

The pandemic is affecting advertising revenue of video providers/producers big and small. That includes Google’s YouTube.

YouTube video pros -- those self-starting video entrepreneurs who offer special yoga classes, knitting clubs, guitars lessons and general “how to” videos -- are getting less from advertising these days.

Many entrepreneurs are shifting gears as a response, enticing loyal followers to pay monthly subscription fees -- just like the big guys -- to continue with their business enterprises.

One provider, Big Jet TV, which offers subscribers exciting jet takeoffs and landings, has been making money -- like $20,000 a month, according to Bloomberg. (That's $14,000 after YouTube takes it 30% cut.)

But it’s not so easy to get here: Luke Taylor, COO/founder at TrafficGuard, says: "In an age where so much content is available for free, competing against free content with a subscription service can be difficult.”



One might also expect going from free to a subscription route results in less enthusiastic followers drifting away.

Looking at bigger media companies, Sony Pictures Television this week decided to go the opposite route.  On Wednesday, it announced the launch of Sony Canal, a new free, ad-supported television for Spanish-speaking viewers in the U.S.

Sony Canel will initially feature two streaming channels -- one for competition TV series, Sony Canal Competencias, and Sony Canal Comedias, for scripted comedies. The new channels will be initially available  to consumers on Vizio TV’s SmartCast smart TV system.

Sony launches amid an advertising market in turmoil this year -- with estimates that could see 20% to 30% declines for the year overall.

Though digital media seems to be hanging in there, YouTube isn’t totally immune. Earlier this year, Google, for the first time, reported ad revenues for YouTube: $15 billion in 2019. We have yet to see YouTube results for the first six months of this year.

Many recent major media companies have leaned on the subscription model for premium video services of late -- HBO Max, Disney+, Apple TV+. Even NBCUniversal has a few subscription fee options for its recently launch Peacock premium streaming services, along with a basic free-to-consumers, smaller library option entirely supported by advertising.

Now, smaller video producers see that subscription fees -- perhaps alongside an advertising component -- is the better way to go. In this premium TV/video streaming environment -- coupled with a struggling economy -- you need to keep your options open. 

Still, can all these independent/small content providers continue to survive? That itself sounds like a “how-to” YouTube video.

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